In the animal industry, castration is a valuable management tool, but it can be a source of concern from an animal welfare perspective. The existing standards for castration that have been developed for other livestock species, even the new standards, cannot be applied to alpacas because of the specific morphological and developmental characteristics of the alpaca. The best method to castrate alpacas is still being debated amongst animal protection groups, producers, animal scientists, and veterinarians. Each group has opinions about which method(s) could address their specific concerns, but a consensus is yet to be found.
The Australian alpaca industry has been through the speculative stage of new industry development and has emerged with a much more professional focus. Alpaca is classified as ‘maturing’ and growth prospects are described as ‘neutral to positive’. Fibre production has increased from 102 tonnes in 2006-07 to 242 tonnes in 2015-16. Meat production has emerged as a serious addition to commercial enterprises –32 tonnes of alpaca meat were marketed to restaurants in 2015-16 and strong future growth is forecast. When returns from stud animal sales, including export, fibre and meat are added into the production mix industry has the potential to be profitable.